Dob in scammers, urges Telstra, as fraud rates soar

Telstra has moved to delay the shutdown of its 3G network to give people more time to upgrade.

Telstra has moved to delay the shutdown of its 3G network to give people more time to upgrade. Photo: AAP

Australia’s largest telco is urging everyone to dob in scammers, with hundreds of thousands of dodgy text messages picked up over the past 10 months alone.

Telstra’s cyber security expert Darren Pauli appealed to Australians for help on Wednesday, saying that reporting scam texts – even if you don’t fall for it – helps the telco block fraudsters.

“If you’ve got an iPhone, select ‘Report Junk’ or ‘Report Spam’ within the message,” he said.

“For Android users or any Telstra customer, forward the message to 7226 (SCAM) then delete the message.”

Pauli said the faster Telstra receives scam reports, the quicker it can act to protect others.

“Urgency is key,” he said.

“The minute you see a scam, report it; the faster we see it, the quicker we can act.”

Telstra wants to encourage people to report scammers, because often people simply ignore these text messages.

By doing so you may help someone else avoid becoming a victim to a scam.

Fraud epidemic

Australians are losing more than $1.3 million a day to scams as an epidemic of fraud continues to sweep across the nation – and the world.

Telstra stated it is blocking more than 11 million SMS messages a month as it participates in an industry-wide anti-scam push that has been encouraged by the communications regulator.

More than 250,000 potential SMS scams have been reported to Telstra’s hotline since last May.

The most common scams reported were delivery and parcel related, which matches a wider trend where criminals impersonate online retailers and Australia Post.

The taxpayer-owned postie warned about fraud last year, and posts examples of known scam attempts on its website to warn customers.

A recent fraudulent message going around impersontes Australia Post and claims a delivery address is in need of “urgent review”, directing users to a page to insert their card details to pay a fee.

Australians lost more than $7 million to online shopping scams last year, according to figures from ScamWatch, with hundreds of reports flowing in from mobile SMS applications.

Reporting a scam

Pauli said Australians should be careful only to report messages they believe to be scams, and to avoid including screenshots in their reports.

“Remember to report a scam directly to the organisation, your telco and, if you can, ScamWatch,” Pauli said.

Messages can be forwarded to Telstra’s 7226 (SCAM) hotline through the SMS application on your mobile phone, simply select the options menu in the text interface and press “forward”.

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